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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

food prices


FOOD PRICES
The consensus seems to be that after the Midwest flooding, scarcity and ginormous food price increases are assured. Well, probably. But most likely isn't assuredly. While we are used to being double dog dingus'ed, it isn't guaranteed. First off, just because the weather is terrible does NOT mean food prices will go up enough to actually endanger anyone. Go back thirty and forty years and most likely what you will see is PETROLEUM rather than Mother Nature induced price spikes. Not always, but most often in this country, 'Murica, oil causes inflation and scarcity. Why?
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Because Oil To Food is at least a century old here. We are spoiled rotten by oil based food and its insanely low cost. Add in extra money from oil wages ( we supervise oil based machines doing our work ) and at no time is history has food ever been this dirt cheap. Ever never. Which makes it a little embarrassing we don't have more food storage ( even me ). In those few short periods that oil wasn't dirt cheap, we noticed that food prices crept towards Historical Norm. It scared us, and it should have. And I don't mean to say that food is expensive to produce. It isn't.
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What is expensive is keeping other people/preditors away from our food. Chickens and grazing animals and plants, they do all the work as long as you do your part adding more to the soil than you take out. Your main job as a farmer is keeping eaters away from your crops and animals, and paying someone else to protect your crops from human eaters. That is why most survivalists spend all their money on guns and very little on food. Protection of food is expensive. Food itself is cheap.
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When BUYING food gets expensive it is because we are paying a premium to the food protectors. The government with guns ( taxes ) or the third parties demanding a toll ( bankers ). It isn't because the food itself has much input cost. So, the Oil To Food was just a racket, by third parties, extorting money. Most times, the extortionists live in splendor by getting paid in quantity rather than quality, per person. Sometimes that dynamic falters and the food appears costly. But that is the protection racket breaking down. Transporting food is part of the racket.
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Historically, small cities were surrounded by farmland. The Lord On High charged a pretty penny and could, because protecting the food against OTHER lords was cheaper than being attacked and slaughtered. There was no transportation cost, because except over water transportation is VERY costly. Mostly, because of protection. Even sea transportation needs a navy, so it was much cheaper but never free. The best way to transport is to NOT need transport. The Oil Age provided the first truly cheap transportation. So for the first time you could free ALL cities of surrounding cropland.
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Which we did, and replaced it with suburbs. Because city workers living in the city taking public transportation are not very profitable. But put them in suburbs and the bankers love them, long time. Even subsidizing gasoline, it was VERY profitable. Notice how almost never was gas too expensive. There might have been supply disruptions, but near free fuel is given to the public so the gov and bankers profit over everything else. That cheap oil translated over into cheap food prices. Why are restaurant food prices so unreasonable right now? It isn't because of food prices. The two trend lines have been the opposite the last five to eight years.
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What you have been paying for is the protection racket. The banker induced 2008 economic collapse, which ONLY profited the bankers, is now responsible for insane rents, surging unemployment, out of control mergers and stock manipulations. You aren't paying more for the food but to bail out the bankers ( to keep their derivatives casino from crashing again ). I feel a surge of pride when I do NOT eat out. Not just because I'm getting a merit badge is Super Extreme Frugality, but because I'm not helping the whoring rotten bankers get more money.
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Do you think McDonald's is replacing workers with robots because they want $15 an hour? NYET! McDonald's can't afford workers at current wages, because of the banker racket costs. Rents, way up ( or, if the property is owned, property taxes way up so the local government can pay its banker loans they took to survive 2008 ). Customers, way down ( or, not increasing. If a business takes loans with growth assumed, just lack of growth equals losing money ). Because customers lose hours to ObamaCare, having less disposable income.
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Again, food costs adjusted for inflation have been going DOWN as restaurant prices have been going UP. Granted, food prices can reverse course and head up. They probably will. But the last time we had a huge weather event, there was actually plenty of press showing how little this impacted food prices. A loaf of bread went from $2.79 to $2.99, say. Because you were not paying all that much for the wheat, as much as for everything else. You're telling me that a 20% surge in food is going to impact you all that much, as cheap as food is right now?
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'Po Bitches in Turd World countries that directly eat off basic food stocks, such as a peasant buying corn kernels to make her own tortilla's, yes, she and her family is screwed. But American's? If you buy processed foods, the food part is cheap even at a 20-50% food price hike. The bank rising interest rates, or oil prices doubling have far more impact on the retail price. Do oil prices carry through the supply chain? Of course! But you only notice when that price doubles or triples. And don't forget, prices are NOT always free to rise!
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Eventually, yes, you'll see a fuel surcharge after lots of oil price increases. But to start, FedEx and UPS competing against each other and the Post Office keep them from raising prices. Oh, someone always pays. The taxpayer, someone losing a job, a stockholder. But the end customer doesn't ALWAYS pay for increased costs. “A virtual monopoly” isn't the same as an “absolute monopoly”. All this is to say, it is simplistic to look at weather related food lose as being an automatic price increase. And we didn't even cover food transportation from other regions. Which I might do tomorrow.
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But I'll definitely cover the whole point this article was about, sans background, which is that even IF food prices go up after flooding, should you discount the possibility of government subsidized food? “Food is a weapon” can also include the wielder allowing it to be sold at a loss. Like the first drug hit being free, the government might not be through with controlling us with cheap food. They could “eat” a lot of the increases, for their own benefit. They subsidize oil and entertainment ( taxpayer supported professional sports ). Why not food? Continued tomorrow.
( .Y. )
( today's related Amazon link click here )
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note: free for today books.  Barnyard Flu here
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note: if you don't read the comments, thinking you have a real life outside my writing, a loyal minion suggested the movie "Battletruck" which is better known as "Warlords Of The 21st Century".  Look for either on ScrewTube, or I watched it ( under "Warlords" ) on Tubi.  Was it a great movie, even by the standards of the 1980's?  Not really.  Was it a great movie compared to almost any other Desert Wasteland After The Oil Age movie?  Hell to the yeah.  It actually tried to envision how life was going to be lived then, and tried to show as much in background detail.  Not realistic per se, with the Forever Ammo and other points, but it tries much harder than most.  The producers actually valued story and other production values.  I enjoyed and recommend. 
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12 comments:

  1. I was wondering if some day you could write about what you think the chances are for nuclear war? Will most people die? What can the average person do to protect themselves?

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    1. I might do an article. Short answer, long odds on nuke war. But if that doesn't hose us, the several hundred nuclear power plants going Full Fuki on us grid down will for sure. Best just to accept a few years cut off your life expectancy from cancer, if bullets don't get you first.

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    2. Nukes are a certainty. Do a little research how many times someone almost presses the go button. With the new hypersonic missiles the chances are even greater (800 miles from Russian vessel in the Bermuda to the Pentagon in 5 minutes. Is it a nuke? Best not chance it and launch ours NOW)

      My money is that the nukes will fly over a misunderstanding. Like when Yeltsin literally was about to launch everything in response to Norway launching a test ICBM whilst NATO was war gaming on the Russian border.

      But the most recent that I know of is the UK accidently launching a ICBM at the US. All of a sudden moslems taking over the UK & France is more worrisome.

      What can the average person do? Move now to where you think you'll stand the best chances. Why? Because Moscow to New York is 30 odd minutes. Even if Putin called you up to warn you they were coming. What could you do in 30 minutes?

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    3. I'm at odds with your conclusion. Muzzies already control nukes in Pakistan. We already seriously pissed off the Paki's, with the GWOT nonsense. Pakistan ( if it wasn't a false flag, granted ) sponsors terrorism in India ( that big hotel attack-they already have a movie on it ). So, why weren't we ever a target? I know, just because it hasn't happened doesn't mean it still won't, and yes it could, but nukes are essentially a defensive weapon. And I think with 40 years of "almost pushing the button" we have some idea how to handle that. Plus, the biggest danger WAS during the Cold War. We actually could kick everyone's ass, so other countries were more afraid of us, hence more prone to nuke us. Now, we can't defeat Venezuela. Seriously, how many people are really afraid of our Shock And Awe, now? Iran doesn't seem too concerned. Agree with the moving part, I just don't think the Strategic Relocation book with its focus on nuke war is very relevant any more. Any 2nd Luey just pinning on the butter bar knows you don't stop your enemy from doing stupid crap, and the US is defeating itself right now ( if nothing else, economically ).

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    4. @10:58. You might find this link to be of some interest. I didn’t explore it thoroughly, but it appears to contain a good deal of information that would be of great PA use.

      The Three Rs

      http://www.ki4u.com/webpal/index.htm

      Farming
      after a Nuclear War

      http://www.ki4u.com/webpal/b_recovery/2_farm_recovery/farming.htm

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Following. Not dining out or getting fast food to go or delivered to your hovel is actually part of a smarter macro strategic plan. There are too many downsides for the convenience of the feelz good. (Frankenfood, hired help with a malicious intent poisoning your food,(deplorable ordered a #3 I'll fix him!) the food itself is contaminated at sourcing or distributors, patronizing a facility or area that should be declared a no go zone, delivery person is an affiliated gang scout, etc etc) If a Minion has a domestic partner of sorts that often goes that route to obtain food it should be considered a traitorous act for endangering health and physical safety by the laziness or indifference concerning yours and fellow tribe food sourcing. If such errant dangerous behavior cannot be rectified by a beating at once, then immediately, right away, get rid of and banish that person poste haste. Uuhm, any Nancy types that want to shrill over the extremeness of the stance, this is kinda a life and death severity topic of say you know: "FOOD"! What else could that malefactor be doing unbeknownst to you, or behind your back as well on the side? Hmm?

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  3. A near tour de force Lord Bison. You hit upon several important points.
    Yes, "protection" offered by local warlord important but several other forces were converging around urbanization & subsequent effects.

    #1 Never, never ever forget the impact the Black Plague on ever single facet of society. Immediate labor shortages gave rise to demise of feudalism and rise of yeomanry. People went from vassalage to a degree of unprecedented "freedom". Common man finally could stand up and say "No!" with much less fear of losing his life at hand of local aristo. A new calculus emerged. Suddenly, executing an uppity peasant was no longer killing a "useless eater, but rather killing a vitally needed worker".
    This is something modern day survivors should ponder well. Impact of sudden mass deaths. So before "dumping an AR mag into neighboring mo-fo" take second to think....can he pull a plow?

    #2 Adaptation of 3 field crop rotation system increased soil health & subsequent productivity of grain as legumes (broadbeans/peas) were added to system. The legumes also improved health of peasants.
    As feudalism waned, 3 field system expanded and helped population rebound during later 14th C.
    Under feudalism, the aristos imposed "folding" on his cropland. That is, all the local animals were penned (or "folded") on aristo property overnight and fed fodder from peasants . Animal manure enriched his fields at expense of the "commons". In post plague Europe enfolding on aristo land decreased. The yeoman's field began to benefit from increased fertility.
    Another modern survivalist conundrum...
    Fertility/productivity... how to get it and increase it. No, not talking about a hareem of nubile, young things either....

    #3 Despite above cropping improvements grain yield per person only haltingly improved. Rebounding population ate into yield per acre increases (inadvertant pun). Labor productivity was still low so lots of people remained tethered to land (pun again).

    Ongoing labor productivity per calorie of food production was just too low. In contrast, once a road was built, canal dug or ship built the ongoing caloric outlay essentially never rose aside from occasional maintenance (i.e. "sunk costs").
    But every year that heavy clay soil from England to Russia all across N. German Plain needed to be plowed, harrowed, planted and harvested.
    Minions...what is your future energy source and can you build "tribe" to cooperate on large up-front costs endeavors (road build, canal dig)?
    I think a visit to Selco's crib makes good start...after memorizing every word of our host, Lord Bison, of course.
    Can't wait to see tomorrow's writeup Lord Bison.

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    1. You make great points. The rotation system only came into being after the overpopulation pressure waned. Too much pressure to maximize output, to the point of killing soil and peasants. Rome did the same.

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  4. Yep, Merica being kinda unique with it's ingrained cultural gluttony expectations will need the food to flow and at a reasonable, even if incrementally increasing costs to maintain order and functioning systems. It is why snap payments, schools feeding kids in lieu of parents, along with the charity rackets disbursing surplus and donations are occuring so prolifically. As you referenced Jim with "growing" 300+++million population packed into cities and shoulder to shoulder suburbs there are complex demands to be met. Any company profit losses incurred will be taxes or fees write offs, even if off books, or made back up by "a reach around" overbided government contract, or slush payment. I would not blink if the food chain systems get wrapped up tight controlwise like nuclear power plant security and nuclear missle silo bases. Food, it's a human necessity and the most powerful weapon of choice. Study: recorded human history examples.

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    1. Yeah, remember the Twinkie Tax in California? People went batcrap crazy they had to start paying sales tax on junk food. I think they quickly repealed that one ( almost thirty years ago-memory fading a bit )

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